Offseason Primer: Possible Franchise Tag Candidates

As I prepare different articles about the offseason, I will give you a list of players who are likely getting the franchise tag.

I have grouped them into three categories. The first are those players who will definitely be tagged. The second are players who you would expect to get the tag, but you never know what the team might be thinking, particularly if its cap situation is tight. The third are players who might get that tag but are just as likely to hit the open market.

As always, if a player agrees to an extension with his current team, the tag won’t be necessary.

Guaranteed to get the tag

Von Miller: The best free agent pass rusher is one the Broncos won’t let get away.
Eric Berry: After a strong 2015 season after returning from cancer treatments, the Chiefs will make sure he stays with them.
Josh Norman: He’s improved with each season, his ceiling is high and Panthers fans love him. He’ll stay with Carolina.
Muhammed Wilkerson: Although he broke his leg near the end of the season, he played so well that you would expect the Jets to retain him, although they might be cautious with a long-term deal.
Justin Tucker: One of the better kickers in the NFL. The Ravens are tight on cap space but should be able to squeeze his tag number in.
Marquette King: The Raiders don’t have other free agents worth the franchise tag, so this will be an easy decision to tag their punter.

Top candidates for a tag

Alshon Jeffery: He’s been a quality wide receiver but the Bears did spend a high draft pick on Kevin White. It remains to be seen what they decide. This one could go either way.
Cordy Glenn: He is a very good left tackle and the Bills say they want to keep the offensive line intact. They can release Mario Williams to make room for Glenn’s franchise tag.
Oliver Vernon: It would make sense for the Dolphins to part ways with Cameron Wake and put the tag on Vernon, who broke out in 2015. But with the Dolphins, you never know what they may decide.
George Iloka: The Bengals have numerous players in their secondary who will be free agents. Iloka is the youngest and a quality safety, so the franchise tag makes sense. Of course, the Bengals could surprise and tag another member of the secondary.
Mason Crosby: He’s coming off one of his best seasons. The Packers don’t have any other free agents worthy of the tag, so the move would make sense.

Remains to be seen

Janoris Jenkins or Trumaine Johnson: Both Rams cornerbacks played well this season. I believe the Rams will want to keep at least one of them. Jenkins has better talent but Johnson gives up fewer big plays.
Tashaun Gipson: An ankle injury limited him in 2015, but he might be able to bounce back. The question is whether the Browns think he’s worth the franchise tag.
Doug Martin: He bounced back after two subpar seasons, but it remains to be seen if the Buccaneers think he’s worth tagging.

Players I would not expect to get the tag are Kirk Cousins (more likely Washington will get him extended), Eric Weddle (it’s clear he won’t return to San Diego), Kelechi Osemele (Ravens don’t have the cap space to tag him) and Damon Harrison (quality player but the Jets will most likely tag Wilkerson).

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Bob Morris

I'm a sports writer in real life, though I've always focused on smaller communities, but that hasn't stopped me from learning more about some of the ins and outs of the NFL. You can follow me on Twitter @BobMorrisSports if you can put up with updates on the high school sports teams I cover.